Minimum Wage

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There is always a political debate on the horizon in politics. A major debate that is currently being held by all politicians is the minimum wage debate.   Minimum wage is defined as the lowest amount of money an employee can make. With this in mind, this debate holds the interest of all young workers, as a wage increase is very close for them in the near future. I chose to explore this debate because I am a firm believer that the current minimum wage is too low and an increase is definitely needed. I concur with President Obama that the federal minimum wage should be increased to $10/hour.

Like all debates there are pros and cons on the agenda. This particular debate definitely has its share of pros and cons. Sympathy can be given to the small businesses who will feel the increase would be a major setback to their livelihood, and on the other hand a great feeling of relief to the worker whose income would be increased. Everyone has an opinion of this debate, some realistic and others unrealistic. There are proponents and opponents as in most debates. Individuals and organizations have publically expressed their concerns either for or against the debate. I will present some of these concerns in the following pages.

The organization Access Justice, PSC, consisting of legal professionals, has expressed their concern by supporting an increase in minimum wage. They issued an article entitled “The Minimum Wage Debate.” In this article they expressed their belief that with the cost of living rising and wages staying the same, it is increasingly difficult for millions of people to afford basic essentials. With the current amount of low-wage jobs in the United States millions of financially strained workers now exist who cannot afford to feed their families. Their major concern is that families are provided income to meet their day-to-day needs and this cannot be maintained with the current minimum wage.

A very interesting article appeared in the Star Ledger on October 27, 2014, concerning the debate. The article presented views of Governor Christie, Republican (opponent) and U. S. Senate Booker, Democrat (proponent). Christie said he’s tired of hearing about the minimum and he’s entirely against raising the wage, and Booker criticizes the remarks Christie made calling them really unfortunate, as Booker is for an increase. Both parties clearly expressed their views on this debate. Christie vetoed a bill last year that would have increased New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 saying it would hurt the economy. On the other hand, Booker states that “nobody should work full time and find themselves under the poverty line and going to food banks to make ends meet.”

Another interesting article that was presented by Mr. Young & Mr. Hobson for Here & Now concerning California’s minimum wage. Ron Unz of that sate is pushing for an increase to $12/hour, the highest in the nation. He states, “One of the arguments frequently made is that a lot of the immigrants who come here take the jobs that Americans don’t want, and that’s perfectly true. In a lot of these jobs, if the wages were reasonable, Americans would take the work, and then there wouldn’t be as much of an immigration problem. Raising minimum wage would also take the burden off taxpayers to subsidize the working poor.”

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An article by Reason entitled “17 Million Reasons Why Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Terrible Idea,” by Ira Stoll on March 3, 2014, expresses great concern why this increase would be bad for the United States. They state that “as an anti-poverty tool, it is a blunt instrument.” They further claim that a lot of minimum wage earners are second or third-job holders in households with other income, or teenagers living with parents, or retirees supplementing Social Security. They are also concerned that an increase would eliminate jobs, reduce the incentive for low-wage workers to get an education in order to better themselves because the increased minimum wage may suffice their needs, and above all it’s a sneaky way to increase welfare spending and raise taxes.

On the other hand, an article by Senator Elizabeth Warren for ABC News dated March 25, 2014, entitled “Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage” states her claim that “raising the minimum wage is good economics. It means that people will have more money to spend, and that helps propel the economy forward and give a much-needed boost to many small businesses. So why have the Republicans refused to budge on the minimum wage? Who are they protecting? Certainly not the families and their 17 million children who would be helped.” In conclusion of her article she states, “Raising the minimum wage is one way we can start to level the playing field for working families.”

After reviewing all the pros and cons on this debate, as stated in the beginning of this paper, I am in favor of raising the minimum wage. I believe it would boost the economy, lift millions out of poverty, it is an important racial justice issue, and Americans need a raise! It has been a very long time since the federal minimum wage was increased and the time has come to move forward.

References:

Access Justice, PSC. “The Minimum Wage Debate.” http://AccessJustie.net

19 November 2014.

Hobson, Jeremy and Young, Robin. “The Conservative Arguments for Raising the

Minimum Wage.” Here and Now. 17 March 2014.

http://hereandnow.wbur.org . 19 November 2014.

Johnson, Brent. “Booker says Christie’s Minimum Wage Remarks are Really Unfortunate.”

NJ.com. 27 October 2014. http://www.nj.com/politics. 19 November 2014.

Stoll, Ira. “Reasons Why Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Terrible Idea.” Reason.

3 March 2014. http://reason.com/archives/2013.03.03/9. 19 November 2014.

Warren, Senator Elizabeth. “17 Million Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage.”

ABC News. 25 March 2014. http://abcnews.go.com/Business.

19 November 2014.

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